*TMS in a Nutshell*

Hi!  I thought I should mention that this page is one of the old incarnations of TMS.  It is now BACK, due to popular request!!!


(Frequently and not-so-frequently-but-should-be-Asked Questions)

Where did the Shiba originate?

We can blame the Japanese for developing a breed of dog to catch and kill small things like cute, fuzzy rabbits and larger things like ill-tempered, undomesticated pigs. Unsurprisingly, this is what the Shiba Inu still does best. Apparently, one would release the Shiba in a wilderness area and pray that something would react to the ball of fur exploding towards it before the Shiba disappeared into parts unknown or inaccessible to the hapless hunter. But we don’t know for sure.History continued much the same in Japan as it did in other countries – the powers-that-be contacted or got contacted by “Western culture” and country life went on more or less as usual. World War II marked a turning point for the Shiba in that the ones that weren’t turned into shish kebob or 8-legged, 3-eyed mistakes of Nature died of illness. This was brought on by the fact that veterinary science was not yet advanced enough to cost the dog owner thousands of dollars to preserve the life of a dog who would, upon recovery, hurl itself under the wheels of a truck in an attempt to catch a rolling marble.

After World War II, the dearth of psychopathic canines made itself felt through the gradual improvement of blood pressure levels. So, people decided to breed more Shibas to support the declining psychiatric profession, the veterinary profession, and the insurance industry. Eventually some people decided to take them to North America, where they have been merrily ignoring commands and killing small animals to the present day.

What does a Shiba look like?

According to everyone who doesn’t have one, a little fox. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard this. Yes, this is my 20 pound, stocky, orange, screw-tailed fox. Thank you for informing me. Apparently Shibas are also indistinguishable from Akitas, Chows, wolves(?), Huskies, Pomeranians and Corgis(?). I haven’t been asked if Shassi is a pit bull yet, but I’m sure it’s coming.Your Flexi should be a size larger than recommended. You’ll find out why when your dog hits the end of it in pursuit of a rattler. Amazing, isn’t it how a 19-pound, gangly, year-old Shiba can feel like a Rottweiler when it wants something.

Agility is one of the hallmarks of the breed. After chasing the animal all over the neighbourhood, you’ll finally get your hands on… oh no, you didn’t. She simply squirted through your fingers. Guess you won’t be going to the bar tonight.

What is Shiba temperament like?

Shibas are completely and utterly cute, adorable, sweet, lovable… and psychotic. (A severe mental disorder, with or without organic damage, characterized by derangement of personality and loss of contact with reality and causing deterioration of normal social functioning.) Well, they are to you. But then again, insane people always think you’re nuts. Shibas have no clue why you don’t want them to kill Thumper or play tag on the freeway.Shibas have a high prey drive. High. Greyhounds run, Border collies herd, Labs retrieve… Shibas kill things. Lots of things. Things you didn’t think could be killed, like the toilet seat or your down comforter. By the way, how is your gerbil? Heard the wheel spin lately? I’d better check if I were you.

Where do I find a Shiba?

Unless suicide appeals to you, A) From a responsible breeder or B) From a responsible rescue. Animal shelters and SPCAs rarely have purebred Shibas floating in from Heaven, so it is unlikely that you will find one there. However, if you do, read the rescue section.THE BREEDER

From a breeder who is certifiably insane, no doubt. You’d have to be to even contemplate adding a miniature canine Jack the Ripper to your household. Just imagine breeding them.

You want a breeder who, without being rude or supercilious, asks you why the hell do you think you want to add the canine equivalent to a three-year-old on crack to your life. Then the right breeder will question you closely on your living situation, plans for the future and plans for troubleshooting. They will observe you with their dogs. They will tell you every bad thing that I have just told you, complete with personal anecdotes about the time when… and expect you to tell them what you’re going to do about it. Good breeders don’t just want “good homes”; they want great homes.

You should also be able to ask the breeder as many questions. How long have you been breeding? What is your standing with the Canadian Kennel Club? Are you a member of the breed club? What activities do you engage in with your Shibas? Do you test for joint and eye problems? What screening method do you use?

You want a breeder who tests for things like hip displasia, patellar luxation (slipping kneecaps) and elbow displasia and eye problems. In Canada, joint problems are usually screened and rated by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (you can search for Sunojo’s Aka Shasta here under hips) or Ontario Veterinary College. PennHIP is another method of screening hips. professionals recognized by the Canine Eye Registry Foundation evaluate eyes for problems that could possibly originate from hereditary defect. Whatever method the breeder uses, they will be happy to show you copies of the certificates (for both parents) upon request. Shibas are prone to patellar luxation and some eye problems.

The dogs at the breeders are preferably house dogs, but not all breeders can accommodate their resident dogs in the house. So you’re looking for clean kennels, fresh water dishes and alert, active dogs. The mothers may look a little scraggly (who wouldn’t after giving birth to a litter of 2-6 puppies?) but they should be clean and healthy looking. No dog should have a thriving population of fleas, worms or festering sores. Your puppy should have been wormed and at least had its first shots – no puppy should leave the mother before 8 weeks except in exceptional circumstances. And, if you are getting a Shiba for the first time, you will not be dealing with these.

The dogs should be friendly. Shibas have problems with shyness and fearfulness – you want dogs who will accept your presence relatively quickly. As long as the breeder is there, the dogs should not be exhibiting excessive fear or aggression. A dog made available for contact should permit petting and examination. Shiba puppies should be confident in their surroundings and boldly move off to explore new places.

Good breeders usually want you to sign a contract stating that you will take care of your Shiba, spay or neuter it if pet stock, and return the dog to the breeder at any time for any reason if you cannot care for it. Contracts are the breeder’s way to ensure the welfare of their animals. Some contracts are slightly different for show animals or special circumstances but they all make explicitly clear your obligation to your dog.


Responsible rescuers have to be even more insane than responsible Shiba breeders, if that’s possible. Instead of starting out with healthy, responsibly bred stock, they choose to take in the abandoned, neglected Shibas that were the victim of the it’s-cute-let’s-buy/breed-it syndrome. These dogs often possess temperament or health problems of varying levels of severity, largely due to the fact that someone was too stupid or selfish to research the breed and/or be a responsible owner.

Rescuers are not created equal. Some are the genuine article – the people who go through hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars transporting, feeding, medicating, retraining and placing dogs into responsible homes. Again, you’re looking at the breeder criteria – are the facilities in which the dogs are kept clean? Do all dogs have access to fresh water? Are sick/injured dogs receiving proper treatment and/or medication? What steps does the rescue take to retrain dogs? Do all receive veterinary checkups before they are placed? Are all dogs spayed/neutered when placed? Does the rescue require some investigation into your reasons for wanting a Shiba and your living situation? How about affiliations with the breed clubs? These are all good signs of a responsible rescue.

Some people style themselves as “rescuers” when they are really a low-level puppy mill, an animal “collector”, or even a well-meaning person who is trying to save a dog’s life. Puppy mills are breeding operations carried on by unscrupulous individuals who breed without thought to the health, temperament or living conditions of the animals they harbour or produce. “Collectors” often start out as well-meaning individuals, but find that the care of all the animals they collect exceeds their income and ability. They sometimes don’t get help until the animals are diseased and dying or have bred to produce unhealthy, genetically unsound offspring. Well meaning individuals are not necessarily irresponsible, but they often do lack the knowledge needed to place the animal in a home prepared for the problems it may have.

Lack of knowledge is often the case with generic shelters and SPCAs, the employees of which are not always versed in the specific needs of specific breeds. Some shelters and SPCAs work closely with recognized rescues which accomplishes two things: the release of the animal into knowledgeable hands and the freeing up of a space in the generic shelter’s kennels for another needy dog.

Are Shibas hard to train?

Don’t bully your Shiba. Give the The Kohler Method of Dog Training away. Your Shiba will not obey you without a damn good reason. It could be treats, praise, a game of fetch or permission to tear something valuable apart. Provide it. You want to train your Shiba by screaming her name and jerking her head-over-paws? Be prepared to enjoy sudden deafness, the refusal to move AT ALL or ear-splitting screams that send the neighbours racing to call the SPCA. Unhappy Shibas will become timid, sullen, or aggressive and may resort to many entertaining behaviour problems that you will pay dearly to fix. If you want Lassie, get a collie.

Shibas are smart. It takes them minutes to learn a command and as many years to obey it with any sort of reliability. Maybe. They’ll get smarter if you feed them bits of bacon or whatever treat they like best when they do something right. With frequent, consistent training, you may be rewarded with a Shiba who just might, if the weather is right and there is nothing to chase or destroy in the surrounding area, come when called. Don’t count on it.

Observe that while Shibas are learning commands, they also are figuring out A) how a lead works, B) how it doesn’t work when you’re not attached to it, C) how long it is (to the last inch), D) how fast you can run, and E) how fast they have to run to keep the lead skittering three feet ahead of you.

I cannot stress this enough

Do NOT trust your Shiba off-lead unless you are certain that she will come when called immediately. Most Shibas won’t. In this case, unless you wish to join the statistics of owners who say “Well she was always well behaved until…[insert tragedy here]” do not let your Shiba run free in an uncontained area. You will regret it.

How are Shibas with other pets?

I don’t know, can they catch it and eat it?Dogs

Shassi was brought into a household of two other dogs and three cats. She got along very well with my other two dogs and the dogs she met when she was a puppy. She does NOT get along with any others with the exception of dogs she was introduced to over a period of time. Male, female, spayed, neutered – it’s all the same to her. One has not lived until one has held a 20 pound Shiba Inu who is raging at the end of a lead because a now bemused Rottweiler or American Pit Bull Terrier has sniffed her tail.

Beware. Shassi’s mother has a split ear from a kennel fight with another Shiba. They don’t call ’em bitches for nothing. Apparently Shibas, especially the females, are bad for this. The males of this breed are surprisingly less likely to cause mayhem in the canine community. Many Shiba males are very good with other dogs. But be prepared to handle and, more importantly, prevent dog-to-dog aggression.


If the pet in question can catch and eat them, your Shiba may decide to compromise. When I got Shassi, our cats towered over her. When she got big enough to tower over the cats, they had already informed her that she would be nicknamed Ol’ One-Eye if she ever messed with them. She got the message and lives in harmony with the family cats to this day. Shibas can get along very well with cats if introduced at a young age and all predatory aggression is strictly discouraged.

Small pets

Shibas have an extremely high prey drive. If it’s small enough and runs away, your Shiba will kill it and eat it. If your hobby is raising canaries, garter snakes, and field mice, you may want to invest in another breed. Do not obtain a Shiba Inu if your passion is watching lemmings run free in your living room. Do not trust your Shiba with vulnerable livestock. You may see your chickens as an investment in egg money; your Shiba will see them as Outdoor Buffet. Your Shiba has highly developed instincts; do not expect it to love your other pets or recognize that they are under your protection.

How are Shibas with children?

This question gets me every time. The person asking this often expects a black/white answer based on the dog’s breed. Well, it doesn’t work that way and it never has. It hinges on how the children are with the Shiba and how responsible the parent or guardian is. Any brat can teach a dog to hate kids. On the flip side, any breed of dog can live harmoniously and safely with children if it is raised and trained to respect children and also is respected by them. This is the owner’s FULL responsibility.

Never trust any dog alone and unsupervised with very young, strange or abusive/troubled children. If something BAD happens, it happens because YOU were stupid enough to leave a creature whose instincts and reactions are completely different from your species’ alone with a completely clueless pre-adult human. Dogs are NOT furry people, they do NOT share our cultural and moral values and they should NOT be expected to reason out our social mores.

Smart owners socialize early. They bring big bags of treats to playgrounds and get children of all ages to feed the puppy (with associated lessons on no biting and no snatching food). They encourage children to pet the puppy and play supervised, non-aggressive games like fetch or sit-for-a-treat. They condition the dog to sit when a child approaches (in anticipation of a treat) and never to jump up. They strictly discourage all forms of aggression from mouthing to mounting with immediate correction.

Fucktards leave their puppy alone with children. They expect the dog to automatically love and guard their children. They expect the dog to put up with abuse and mauling with no sign of aggression. They don’t bother to teach the children how to control the dog or the dog to see the children as above it on the social ladder. Since a Shiba Inu is a cute, fuzzy, small breed, they allow their kids to treat it like a worn teddy bear. When (note I say ‘when’, not ‘if’) the dog bites, they either toss the dog out in a yard or on a chain or ignore the aggression until the dog really attacks.

Shibas do not, as a rule, attack and kill toddlers on sight. They will, however, rightfully resent fingers pushed into their eyes, tail-pulling or attempts at hugging (this is a dominance behaviour and Shibas don’t do dominance from Terrible Twos). Accept that your dog is a cute kid-magnet and teach the children around you how to properly respect it. No matter how gentle the child is with your dog, stay well within hauling off distance should something happen. It’s not likely to if you do your job right, but you don’t want your dog to get the notion that children mean anything other than treats and fun things.

Years after the initial child socialization, Shassi still thinks that children are hot dog dispensers. She associates children with positive things and is less likely to behave aggressively or fearfully. Should a child somehow get past my guard and rush up to Shassi, her first impulse is not to bite or run away. She is aloof with adults but very friendly with young children and is not bothered by children running or screaming around her.

Never let your Shiba view kids in any other way.

What about grooming? Do Shibas shed much?

Shibas don’t shed; they do the canine version of Hiroshima.

It is somewhat disconcerting to find your sleek little dog resembling a Brillo Pad. In the space of a few days, your house is filled with downy little mats that strain your coffee and add substance to your food. People start smiling condescendingly at you and ask if you happen to have a dog. Your carpet goes from dark brown to a light cream color.

The underfur that comes from one Shiba during one shedding season would do credit to a dog four times its size. They don’t think like small dogs and they certainly don’t shed like small dogs. Slicker brushes and pin brushes are invaluable tools in dealing with the choking clouds of fur and should be part of any Shiba owner’s grooming tools. A grooming rake is also a very good tool to have.

It must be noted that Shiba undercoat comes out most efficiently when adhered to formal dress, any sort of food, or dog-hating visitors.

Do they chew? Bark lots? Dig?

Do they chew? More properly, what DON’T they chew? Shassi has destroyed library books, my mother’s Bingo markers (on top of the ruins of Mom’s favorite pillow), my Tetris Gameboy cartridge (am I dating myself or what?), and many other previously valuable objects that now resemble recycled cat vomit. She’s gotten better now that she’s grown, but every so often finds it amusing to remind us of our complacency. Remember that this dog is entirely willing and able to jump onto tables and low shelves in order to redecorate your house.Do they bark lots? Only if you let them. If you are one of those owners the rest of us love to hate, you’ll leave your Shiba out on the deck to bark her head off at dogs, people, birds, insects, leaves… Learn to take your dog inside the house when it starts barking. Bored dogs bark. Give your Shiba something to do.

Shibas miss their country of origin and most if not all have dedicated some portion of their day, if possible, to digging back to Japan. Failing this, digging under the fence or in the garden will serve as an acceptable alternative. Supervise your Shiba in the yard or resign yourself to craters everywhere.

Fenced yards are not a substitute for walking and training your Shiba. If you don’t want to do these regularly and frequently, please, please, please invest in a goldfish. Dogs need stimulation and believe you me, if your Shiba doesn’t get enough stuff to do, she will find her own entertainment. Providing different amusements and proper confinement for your Shiba is what you do if you wish to keep her from chewing your computer cords, tunnelling to the neighbour’s chicken coop, or keeping the neighbourhood aware of every movement within one kilometre of your house.

Be aware that your Shiba can climb and fly off of seven feet of chain-link, tunnel under footlong extensions of the fence, and squeeze through cracks you can’t pass your hand through. I am against in radio collar fencing; your Shiba will be at high risk of torment by brats, loose animals and/or evil neighbours or will learn to ignore the shock.

How can I stop my Shiba from destroying my house, alienating my neighbours or making me want to kill her?

Your Shiba is extremely intelligent and active. Give it something to do. Some owners, like myself, do conformation showing. Shassi has also been involved in agility (great, positive-oriented dog/human sport) and obedience (yes, I tried, I really did!). Contact your local kennel club to see what classes they offer. Shiba Sports can give you a lot of ideas on what you can do with your Shiba. Check out the pics of the tracking and sledding Shibas. There’s even a story on a Shiba drug-sniffing dog!

Basically, if you don’t give your Shiba activities, she will find her own amusements. The odds are overwhelmingly in favour of a pastime that will have you in counselling.

The Misanthropic Shiba


  1. It is about time someone with such humorous insight speaks out about the true nature of the Shiba, the dog a lot of us know and love, inspite of it all….

  2. Thank You so much for putting this website together; it’s got some great information provided with a handful of humor but always underlined with seriousness. I am looking forward to getting a shiba once i empty my house of everything.

  3. It was because of your website that I decided on a Shiba Inu(no…I am not blaming you!). Bandit is 4 months old and I am finally used the shiba howel(I feel like I am going to get arrested by animal welfare). I got him from a breeder in alexandria virginia. If I dont take bandit out for regular exercise…then he becomes the weapon of mass destruction that everyone was looking for. Thanks for the information…and laugh that I need when I am in the doghouse!

  4. This was wonderful to read. There is no chance that I would be able to have a dog, but today I passed a shop where there were two young Shibas — both standing up to greet a visitor, and looking (yes, not quite like foxes, but …) as cute and pettable as you describe. They seemed happy. Then one of them gave a funny, high pitched ,tiny yowl….

    Pretty amazing how absolutely they fit your description.

    Thanks for the site.

  5. What a great description of a wonderful dog. We’ve had Sachi for 12 years. She is the most independent cuss you will ever find, but we love her dearly. She can still hike 5 miles with us, if she likes the temperature and trail texture. Still acts like a one yr old. Keeps us young.


  7. my sister recently gave me a Shiba puppy who is 4 months old. We own chickens, cats, a cockatoo, a few other dogs, a goat and horses
    So far he has not messed with the chickens and is scared of the goat, cats and cockatoo, but he loves to run under the horses, when you put him on a leash the first place he tries to bolt off to is the pasture (esp. when the horses are near him)

    If he is kept around chickens and other animals i mentioned, will he continue to not mess with them or as he gets older think he can?

    The horses arnt a problem since i dont let him around them without being right beside him cause they could step on him

    even though he’s not bothering the other animals should i still use strict handling when he gets near them so he wont think that its ok to bother them?

    • Hi Jessy,

      I am generally apprehensive of Shibas around other pets if they aren’t raised with them, but 4 months old is not too old to start socializing your puppy with your other pets. My first Shiba, Shassi was very good with the cats she was raised with. I don’t know about how your puppy would eventually be around the chickens and cockatoo. I think with heavy socialization and obedience training, you can modify to a great extent your Shiba’s reactions to your other animals. However, I would caution you to be prepared if your Shiba starts displaying predatory aggression toward your birds. What I recommend is a happy, upbeat, positive obedience training program and the principles of NILIF.

      If your Shiba is not listening to you and displaying aggression, it is time to come down on him immediately. Give him a good correction – at this age, especially, I’m not in favour of leash corrections, because I feel they are not that good for his neck. But you can grab him by the scruff and give him a good shake while saying, “NO!” The goal is to startle him, not hurt him. If he’s not a fan of water, a squirt gun or the garden hose can also be an effective deterrant. Hopefully, when he associates being aggressive with an immediate correction or spray of cold water, he will avoid aggressive behaviour towards your other animals in the future.

  8. Anyone have any suggestions for Jessy? I haven’t had my Shiba around such an assortment of animals, so I hesitate to make any recommendations.

  9. Pooh Bear wandered into our front yard in mid-December 2008. He was sniffing around my sister’s dog Fluffy (a bichon friche female pardon misspelling). We took him into our vet where he was scanned for a chip. We were told that he indeed had a chip and all attempts to contact his registered owner were unsuccessful. We posted fliers in our neightborhood, put up notices at the Petsmart in our area and posted a found dog on pets911.com. We finally decided to keep Pooh Bear and as responsible owners, have had him neutered. We will be taking him to dog training very soon, but are concerned about his agression to other pets as well as people. He is extremely protective of my mom and has bitten her when she went to answer our front door. We discipline him by using a spray bottle filled with water and I try to show him I am his master. After reading this website, I know now that I cannot discipline him with agression. Thank you! In our home we currently have two pit mix females (2 years old and sisters named Haggis and Thistle) that do NOT get along with Pooh. He challenges them constantly and sometimes they simply ignore him. One of my concerns is that they all will get into a fight and severly hurt one another. With Fluffy, he has taught her to growl when she is playing with a toy and he has decided that he wants it. We do not regret rescuring Pooh and hope to provide him with a good healthy home. We realize that some changes will need to happen and it will involving moving out of the house. Meanwhile, we are learning to NEVER let our guards down and to learning more and more each day on how to live with Pooh.

    • Hi Briana,

      Kudos to you and your family for trying to work with Pooh Bear. Check out my response to Jessy above and go to the NILIF (Nothing in Life is Free) link. This is an excellent method of rehabilitating a dominant dog, but it is not a quick fix. It is a long and often difficult journey to adjust a dominant animal’s attitude without breaking it. Keep him away from Haggis and Thistle for now, at least. You are right to be concerned. APBT and their mixes may not start a fight, but they may well end it if pushed too far by a dog who thinks he’s all that and a bag of kibble. An exercise pen or crate can be good tools.

      Your choice to take him to obedience school is great! Make sure the trainer knows what kind of dog s/he is dealing with; it helps the trainer to know that this dog does have dominance and aggression issues. You may also wish to find a behaviourist who is experienced in dealing with aggression.

      Good luck and feel free to come back again and tell us how Pooh Bear is doing.

  10. OMG–this is hillarious. And I learned some new words to useon my friends…. I have 3 of these Thumper Chasing delights, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I did buy a bunch of mental agility toys and I have to say–they are awesome, in addition to the daily 1 mile to 5 mile walks with my foxes. I am surprised by the equal amounts of “are those wolves?” though too. So here’s to the little but mighty Shiba Inu, or Ibu Shina, or Shooba Inee…as I continue to hear as stroll through the streets with my pack of rabbit/squirell/moving object hunters! And thanks for an honest description. You nailed it.

  11. I feel incredibly lucky to have a sane Shiba Inu!!! Shiva is not destructive, doesn’t dig, & acts fun and friendly to everyone. (he did however kill a squirrel in my daughters backyard!) In his first year, he did occasionally scream and snarl when i touched his back legs at times, but i just ignored that and let him bite me and i taught him how to bite gently with alot of playing. He can get aggressive with play but i was confident and stronger than he was, not being intimidated or afraid of his protests, so i taught him to trust me, He never bites me to break the skin, so we have alot of fun with his mouthing games. I like to play rough w/ him and let him get a little wild, but he doesn’t get mean. He seems to realize it’s a game. He comes when i call him to go for a walk 3 times a day, waits paitently to go out if i can’t get to that asap. Walks very well on the leash, as i did alot of correcting on the pulling thing. I just stop walking till he stops pulling…he only chews on his toys which i provide generously. He sheds alot and i brush him regularly. i feed him bison and salmon, & ground flax seed. Absolutely no corn or grains as this does cause immediate hot spots. He used to get a little nuts w/ brushing, but again i ignored his protests and he gave up. We trained him primarily with ton’s of treats and love. He sits easily on command and will lay down and show off for people. He is adorable and everyone in the neighborhood flips out when they see him. Shiva is the most popular dog in Historic Old Louisville Kentucky! Black and tan with a gorgeous face and markings. Shiva is also very loving and affectionate. Great with cats… Fantastic watchdog… He is a super dog!

    • Wow… I think that world peace is around the corner! Congratulations on having a great Shiba; however, I think that his temperament is mainly due to your work with him as well as a naturally sweet disposition 🙂

  12. After working for a year and a half in Japan where so many people had Shiba Ken as pets, we had to get one when we returned to Australia. There are not many breeders of Shiba Inu here but fortunately there’s one in our city and we picked up Koto when she was 8 weeks old. Now she’s nearly 5 months and is the most delightful dog I have ever known. She loves people and other dogs and I would almost credit her with curing my wife’s Mum’s cancer! We take her down to the park every morning where she meets all her friends (the other dogs and their owners) who she charms to pieces and she lives for these moments. One woman called her a fat fox, so there’s a new one to add to the list of names. Mostly we get fox, and a lot of people ask if she is a dingo (Australian dog). In fact they are related, so it is not far off the track.

    She digs a little bit, but not much; mouths but never breaks skin (but thinks a foot with a sock on it is a toy to be chewed); can be a bit cantankerous on the lead but is usually fine; is wilful, playful, affectionate, independent, considerate, a little bit demanding and highly intelligent. You can see I am in love!

    Thanks for your northern hemisphere perspective. I had a good laugh as I recognised some of the attributes you describe well.

  13. So we were visiting friends who happen to be vets (the animal kind). They admired our big beautiful Akita girl then saw “Souda” our black/tan male shiba. “Oh you have one of them……….” they sniffed and turned up their noses at our shiba. I don’t know what type of insanity I have contracted but I LOVE Shiba’s. Maybe because you have to work so hard to get their love.

  14. Hi. Just found your website and am wiping the tears from my eyes from laughing so much. Some people may think that your humorous statements are exaggerated, but believe me…they are right on the money!
    I have owned many breeds of dogs in my lifetime, but acquiring a Shiba Inu was a real shock to the nervous system…one that paralyzed all brain functions, clouded my eyes over from the effects of blitzkrieg dementia, and had me running for the bottle of Stoli 100…not to mention the bottle of oxygen I needed after chasing the furry lightning bolt all over the neighborhood!
    We had lost our two dogs, 15 and 16 years old. My wife and son thought it was a great idea to get a puppy because I was depressed over the losses. My son and his girlfriend suggested a Shiba, not really knowing anything about them except that they were cute and small. I agreed on the plan, and based on my previous lifelong love and comfortable experiences with other breeds, including mutts, blindly forged ahead.
    Koji was 6 months old when we got him. A beautiful dog, he was shy at first but bonded with us almost immediately. We outfitted him with a comfortable, loose fitting, reflective red collar and a 16 foot leash. We took him to the fenced-in garden several times, then decided to walk him around the 10 acres of our property to familiarize him with it, whereupon he immediately pulled out of my wife’s grip and disappeared into the woods…leash trailing behind him. We breathlessly looked for him for over two hours, then finally found him sitting by the garden, sans leash and collar, waiting for us! I never did find the leash and collar. That was a year ago.
    In the meantime, he has mapped out every object on the property. If anything is amiss or moved, or if a new item has been set outside, he will not pass it! To make matters worse, we decided he might be more happy if he had a playmate, so, being idiotic gluttons for torture and psychotic, altered states of consciousness, we brought home another Shiba…Honey! Honey is a friggin’ trip – 10 times the nerve-jangling experience that Koji was. But that is another story… and an ongoing adventure into the dark side of “WTF?”.

    • Wornout William, your post made me snort coffee out of my nose. Too funny! It gets better, like when they are about 10 yrs old. 😉

      • I disagree re it getting better. If let out in the backyard for two minutes, our 13 year old shiba will bee-line to the fence and start hauling himself over it. Once over, he immediately scours the neighbourhood for the raunchiest smelling thing he can roll in, then proceeds to strut through the streets like he’s the king of the world ( which he is). We are used to the following phone conversations: “I think we’ve found your dog. ” “oh great. Thanks so much. Does he smell? ” “yeah, he really does. ” “thanks, we’ll be right there”. By the time we run over, the little bugger has escaped again. The poor people are distraught and feel horrible that they lost him. We reassure them and wait for the next call. The mantra for a shiba owner should be “Constant vigilance!”

  15. I think that this article should be a ‘must’ for any new shiba owner.

    I’m the owner of two shiba’s and I recognised them both in the article, with one exception, they ‘ve never destroyed a thing! Even their toys, which they play everyday, last for three years

    • Mine doesn’t destroy anything either, and isn’t psychotic or crazed. He doesn’t chase small rodents/critters, or seek to kill. However, plenty of shiba’s do. There is a wide spectrum from lazy-bones and friendly all the way to “psychotic” and aggressive with our shiba’s. I’d say some might be genetics or personality, but I do believe the aggressiveness and desire to chew and destroy things largely comes from how bad the owners were at understanding how to train, entertain, and care for their shiba properly when it was young. Either way, all shiba’s are a hoot and pure joy, in my opinion! They deserve respect and special treatment, hence the need to keep them away from ignorant, selfish people. 😉

  16. While this is very cute and made me laugh. it really is NOT the Shiba. I own 9 over the last 23 years the most I ever had at one time was 12. Yes I am a breeder and I do question a perspective new owner in depth. But the rest? hmm can’t say it is all true, sure they do not listen but then they do .I have one who hunts. that’s all one and she hunts snakes, mices moles and rabbits . the rest well the would rather just lie around my house, some on couches, some on the floor. I love this breed because they are all different. I know the author of this article. Her Shiba’s do not live in her house, So she has a whole different idea of what living with a shiba is like, I mean really living with them/

    • Er… I’m the author of this article and Tierce lives in the house.

      • Lol!!

        This article is spot on. I share it with all my friends who mention that they will look after my dogs.

    • Yeah, I totally live in the house. I have three dog beds, a couch, and a recliner, but I often choose to sleep on the big bed and crowd the humans into a triangle on one half so I can stretch out.

    • I agree with Laura. I have a 7 yr old Shiba I have had since he was 7 wks old. Yes he is quirky and yes they are head strong but it all depends on how well they are socialized with many people, large and small, and many dogs when they are puppies. You also establish early on that you are “leader of the pack”. My Nikko is a therapy dog and a 1st grader reads to him every week in an elementary school to help the child progress in reading. Yes he is aloof with people he doesn’t know but he has never been aggressive toward anyone. He loves all his dog friends in our therapy dog group but it does take a few visits with a new dog before he accepts the new dog, but many dog breeds are like that. I also love the breed because they are different and would get another one in a heart beat. I agree; never leave a Shiba off leash, at least in an urban area. unless enclosed. The article gives the impression that all Shibas are as she describes.

  17. This. Is. Spot. On. Everyone saying it’s not, please keep in mind that the author is not queen of the Shibas and obviously cannot speak for EVERY Shiba. We all know they’re very unique in personality but have a LOT of similar traits. They are escape artists, they have a mind of their own, they like to kill small animals (or their own dog beds in my experience) and they get bored. Stop acting like the author is telling you exactly what your shiba is like; it’s not that deep. Yall just out here looking to fight and disagree. This article was funny, informative, important for new or potential shiba owners and unless you wanna write a thousand word article, stop pretending to be a professional critic. Just calm down. This was a good article and I’ll be sending it to MANY people who talk to me about adopting a Shiba.

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